Black Rose Tavern
Los Angeles, CA
The Players: David Rosales
Material: California native David Rosales brings a perfect blend of country, folk and blues to his live shows. While his recorded material has a fuller sound-—as it boasts a full band—Rosales performs a stripped-down set consisting of himself and his guitar, at least at Black Rose Tavern’s Westside Hayride. “Brighter Days” is a perfect introduction to his sound as he strums to a tune almost more befitting a coffee shop than a tavern. “Slice of Heaven” creates a toe-tapping environment as Rosales brings up the tempo of the room. The set closer, “AmОlie’s Song,” is not only a standout on the setlist, but also the singer’s discography, as it showcases the sweetness of his lyricism with that of his voice before breaking into a guitar solo that would only have been better accompanied by the rest of his band.
Musicianship: There’s a smooth and smoky quality to Rosales’ voice that many bluegrass artists strive for which marries well with his guitar playing and earnest lyricism. The singer/songwriter has a way of keeping each song refreshing-—though there is only so much variation that can come from one man and an acoustic guitar. Again, the only way to have made the musicianship better would have been to see him accompanied by his band.
Performance: With a set consisting of songs from both of his EPs, the shining moment came when he covered Ray LaMontagne’s “Devil’s In The Jukebox.” It brought out an edge in Rosales that’s perfect for breaking up the two halves of his set and it’s a side the singer should certainly explore more of. It also needs to be said that it is a testament to a musician’s drive when they can perform to a venue where very few patrons are there for the music. Rosales has that drive. With eyes squeezed shut, mouth stretched wide and fingers dancing across the strings, anyone paying the singer the attention he deserves will certainly find his performance worthwhile.
Summary: Though his presence certainly made up for the lack of backing musicians, it would be a treat to see Rosales supported by a full band. That being said, his stripped down performance is as sincere as his music and a great introduction to his talent.
– Victoria Patneaude